How to Research for Good Market Niches – The Unscientific Approach

There are two approaches to figuring out What to Write

  1. The Scientific Approach. This involves using keyword tools, researching what searches are popular on Google, and researching the Kindle Store
  2. The Unscientific Approach. This involves going through the store and the bestseller lists and getting a ‘feel’ for what is selling and what might sell

It’s very similar to Baseball

  1. Analytical People believe the best way to find a good baseball player is via advanced analytics. That it is all a science
  2. Scouts believe the best way to find a good baseball player is ‘the eye test’. By seeing the player play and getting a ‘feel’ of what kind of player he is. That it is all an Art

Similarly, with books and when deciding What to Write, you can take

  1. The Analytical Approach – use precise figures and analytics and see exactly what is selling and where the competition is low and where it is high. Use ‘Science’ and Data to figure out what to write
  2. The Scout Approach – go through the store and look at books and see what is in the bestsellers list and what is ‘hot’ and ‘trending’. Then leverage your sixth sense and intuition to figure out what to write

We will write about the analytical approach separately

This post is all about the ‘Feel’ approach based on Intuition and Your Experience as an Author and your Sixth Sense

What is Sixth Sense and Intuition for an Author

To better understand what Intuition and Sixth Sense are, it is good to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho or one of the Law of Attraction books written at the turn of the previous century i.e. Thoughts are Things, How to Get Rich, Thought Vibrations, etc

Your Sixth Sense and Intuition are a combination of

  1. Everything you have learnt as an Author and which has gone into your conscious and subconscious – an ‘imprint’ of all your experiences and learning
  2. What the Universe is telling you to write
  3. What your instincts tell you will sell

Basically, it is everything that you know and feel and yet cannot put into ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ terms

Very Important: The more experience you have in writing books and marketing books, the better you will be at intuiting what will sell and what you should write

There is very strong precedence for Intuition and Sixth Sense in the Creative Arts

If you come from a rational background you will find this all to be perplexing. You have to factor in that in the creative arts it is very common to write based on what you feel and what your intuition tells you

  1. Kublai Khan was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge after a dream (albeit opium induced)
  2. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson is another book which came to the author partially in his dreams
  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is another

So, as opposed to the sciences, where everything is ‘proven’ via scientific tests –

In the Creative Arts it is very common to get inspiration from unusual places and to do things that are completely illogical

The ‘Intuition’ approach to figuring out What to Write involves letting go of everything you think you are supposed to do

Analytics can only tell you what currently exists, it cannot help you create a new market

You can spend a lot of time looking at what is in the store and do a lot of analytics

It will tell you – what currently exists, how competitive it is, what is hard to succeed in, what is somewhat straightforward to succeed in

To create a new niche or a new market – you have to combine market research with all your experience and with what your gut is telling you will work

The Process to Research for New Good Markets based on Intuition and Feel

You have to do a few different things. As this is a very ‘feel’ based process they can be done in any order

  1. Familiarize yourself with the market that currently exists
  2. Pay particular attention to what is on the fringes and beginning to become mainstream and/or break through
  3. Start looking at the big successes in the book genres you write in. Pay special attention to what is hot and trending
  4. Find some time to free your mind of your every day worries and concerns. Meditation is one good option. Taking a mini vacation or a mini stay-cation is another
  5. Speed Write Ideas – the main step being to write and speak FASTER than you can think or overthink things. You want to say what is in your subconscious and not let your conscious filter it. One very good way is to just start writing things out on a piece of paper without stifling yourself in any way – write whatever comes to mind
  6. Get a voice recorder and take voice notes where you speak out ideas and thoughts without applying any rational or logical filters to them
  7. Go through Bestseller Lists with the angle of – what is The One Thing that sets this book apart. Look only for what is the Unique Quality of this bestselling book that makes it a success
  8. Go through categories and subcategories solely to understand the interplay between them. Often at the intersections of multiple genres is where you can find magic and a whole new market
  9. Look at the world around you and see what stories are happening which no one is writing about. What are the changes in society and in technology and in culture that are not yet captured in books

This will give you a good, long list of some crazy and some sensible markets to explore

Now we have the Distillation Phase

The Distillation Phase – To Throw out all that makes Sense and Keep all which does not

When working ‘by feel’ you do not keep what makes sense. Because that you would find anyways via Analytics and by Scientific and Logical Approaches

The Real Prize are the Crazy and Illogical Markets – focus on the markets which you think might not exist and the markets that seem to make no sense

Distill everything into a list of crazy and niche markets, markets which you think might not exist at all, markets that are perhaps way too small, and markets that no books have been written for

Now use your intuition to derive a priority list – which of these crazy markets do you feel most strongly about

The Product Market Fit Testing Phase

At this stage you have a prioritized list of 5 to 15 crazy markets which you feel very strongly about

Now, and this is the most critical part, create two lists

  1. Those markets out of your list, for which a flourishing market actually exists. Even though you used a ‘feel based approach’ you somehow managed to find some crazy markets which actually exist and are flourishing
  2. Those markets out of your list, which you feel very strongly about, and yet no market exists. For these do a bit of research and strike out markets where the books exist and readers don’t. Leave only the markets where books do not exist i.e. people simply aren’t writing for these markets

These two sets of markets are the ones to focus on

Your Best Market which will bring you great success will lie either in the first list (more likely) or in the second list (less likely, yet possible)


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